Drill home the fact that you’re not only dependable, but that your word is good as gold. Start now to craft your image as a pillar of responsibility:
Propose timetables. When you accept responsibility for something, don’t just say, “Yes, I’ll take care of it,” and walk away. Tell the person exactly when you’ll handle it. Example: “You can expect a preliminary report this Friday, to be followed by a more detailed analysis by the 15th.”
By providing deadlines and time frames, you reassure your listener that you intend to get started rather than procrastinate. Better yet, you create a schedule that includes checkpoints for evaluating your progress.
Show interest in details. Many senior executives judge the reliability of their employees by their skill at digesting lots of details. If you retain key facts the first time you hear them (or take notes when you’re being given instructions), it sends a message that you treat such information seriously.
Initiate contingency plans. Even the most reliable workers can stumble when events swirl beyond their control. That’s why you should anticipate snafus and suggest “what if” plans to show that you’re prepared for worst-case scenarios.
Example: You’re asked to research and settle a complex customer dispute. Outline how you’ll proceed if the customer gets an attorney and you’re drawn into legal proceedings.
Follow up. After you complete a task for someone, wait a few days and check in to see if everything’s fine. Ask, “Did you get what you needed?” or, “Is there anything else I can do?”